Does Oxycodone Help Adults with Cancer Pain?

Does Oxycodone Help Adults with Cancer Pain?

Does Oxycodone help adults with cancer pain? That’s the clinical question a number of researchers from the United Kingdom asked.

And what they found was, ‘Oxycodone was not associated with superior cancer pain relief or fewer adverse effects compared with other strong opioids, such as morphine or oxymorphone,” according to their study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).

Their JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis looked at a Cochrane literature review of approximately 1,400 cancer pain patients. They compared controlled-released and immediate-release oxycodone and compared controlled-released oxycodone and controlled released morphine.

The differences observed with respect to adverse events was insignificant. Also found to be insignificant were the treatment acceptability – how well the cancer pain sufferers could tolerate the different medicines.  In terms of quality of life ratings, the differences were insignificant as well.

The researchers noted that “the quality of the evidence was low,” concluding that oxycodone is not considered to be a better solution to cancer pain in adults compared to other strong analgesics like morphine.

In a February 2015 study from Cochrane, researchers also looked into the benefits of oxycodone for cancer pain relief.  They concluded,

“Overall, the data included within this review suggest that oxycodone offers similar levels of pain relief and adverse events to other strong opioids including morphine, which is commonly considered the gold standard strong opioid. Our conclusions are consistent with other recent reviews and suggest that while the reliability of the evidence base is low, given the absence of important differences within this analysis it seems unlikely that larger head to head studies of oxycodone versus morphine will be justified. This means that for clinical purposes oxycodone or morphine can be used as first line oral opioids for relief of cancer pain.”

According to Cancer.org, “Whether you have pain and the amount of pain you have depends on the type of cancer, its stage (extent), and your pain threshold (tolerance for pain). People with advanced cancer are more likely to have pain.  Pain from the cancer can be caused by a tumor pressing on bones, nerves, or body organs.”

Cancer-related pain can also be related to treatments that themselves cause pain.

Authored by: Staff